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Who Killed Men's Hats?
NPR ^ | May 4, 2012 | Robert Krulwich

Posted on 05/13/2012 7:42:53 PM PDT by Eyes Unclouded

...

So what happened? Why did guys stop wearing headgear in midcentury America?

The turning point, most people say, was John F. Kennedy's inauguration. Before Kennedy, all presidents wore top hats on their first day at work. Kennedy brought one, but hardly ever put it on. Fashionistas say Kennedy, one of our most charismatic presidents, made hats un-happen. And, chronologically speaking, after JFK, guys everywhere, even balding ones like astronaut John Glenn, went topless.

But I am the son of a hat designer. And my father, Allen S. Krulwich, had a different explanation. The president who de-hatted America, he thought, was Dwight Eisenhower.

Here's my dad's logic.

In the 1950s — and this was one of Ike's grand accomplishments — he built a vast highway system across America. Interstates went up everywhere. Cities extended roads, turnpikes, highways, and suburbs appeared around every major city. People, instead of taking a bus, a tram, a train to work, could hop into their new Chevy or Ford and drive.

Before Eisenhower, many more people used public transportation. After Eisenhower, they used a car. That, my father thinks, created the critical Head-To-Roof Difference.

A person of average height standing in a bus, tram or subway car has, roughly, three feet between the top of his head and the roof.

(Excerpt) Read more at npr.org ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: fashion; hat; hats; males; npr; stetson; trends
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To: Errant
Funny. Minus, schtick. ;)
51 posted on 05/13/2012 8:45:35 PM PDT by Theoria (Rush Limbaugh: Ron Paul sounds like an Islamic terrorist)
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To: Cicero
No longer.

Good.

Clothing ought to be practical, not overly fanciful / idiotic. Function over fashion.

52 posted on 05/13/2012 8:47:14 PM PDT by James C. Bennett (An Australian.)
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To: Theoria

Touche :)


53 posted on 05/13/2012 8:48:45 PM PDT by Errant
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To: agrarianlady
I suspect it was better hair hygiene.

I think you might have a point there. It wasn't until the latter part of the 20th Century that washing your hair daily was something most people did. I guess why bother if nobody is ever going to see it.


54 posted on 05/13/2012 8:51:18 PM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: agrarianlady
I suspect it was better hair hygiene.

I think you might have a point there. It wasn't until the latter part of the 20th Century that washing your hair daily was something most people did. I guess why bother if nobody is ever going to see it.


55 posted on 05/13/2012 8:51:18 PM PDT by SamAdams76
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To: James C. Bennett
Clothing ought to be practical, not overly fanciful / idiotic. Function over fashion.

I couldn't agree with you more! And one usually leads to the other.

56 posted on 05/13/2012 8:54:03 PM PDT by Errant
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To: SamAdams76

Flavor Flav ...; http://www.google.com/imgres?q=flavor+flav&um=1&hl=en&sa=N&biw=1015&bih=626&tbm=isch&tbnid=nOs5B5r2Cek38M:&imgrefurl=http://www.metrolyrics.com/tags-flavorflav.html&docid=N3MXjLhKYuL7VM&imgurl=http://netstorage.metrolyrics.com/artists/large/1162700707/flavor%252520flav.jpg&w=466&h=698&ei=cYKwT_LxMZTPiAKMm_SEBA&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=518&vpy=227&dur=5451&hovh=275&hovw=183&tx=103&ty=160&sig=113888895948478504498&page=2&tbnh=137&tbnw=104&start=19&ndsp=24&ved=1t:429,r:3,s:19,i:188


57 posted on 05/13/2012 8:59:39 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Kennedy & Eisenhower, I believe.

58 posted on 05/13/2012 8:59:49 PM PDT by Errant
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To: Errant

59 posted on 05/13/2012 9:09:34 PM PDT by Errant
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To: bigbob

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2QJvc_SxFQ&sns=em


60 posted on 05/13/2012 9:10:10 PM PDT by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: WilliamofCarmichael

Truman, IIRC, ran a haberdashery before he got into politics. As such, he was very familiar with hats from both the seller and the customer’s viewpoint.


61 posted on 05/13/2012 9:11:24 PM PDT by knittnmom (Save the earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Nowadays, it seems like every guy I run into who walks around under a hat all the time is actually a self conscious bald guy who’s trying to hide it from everyone. So hats are for baldies. Or that’s the impression. Too bad people don’t seem to be expected to remove their hats anymore when going indoors. Agree with the person who said America quit wearing hats when Hollywood quit wearing them.


62 posted on 05/13/2012 9:13:13 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: Revolting cat!

that is perhaps why the Army got rid of the saucer cap and went to the beret. A beret will fit under an epaulet.

The garrison cap was a sad ‘dress’ version of the WWI field cap, designed to go under a helmet and keep your ears warm. Rather sensible in northern Europe, less so in the deserts of the middle east.


63 posted on 05/13/2012 9:18:26 PM PDT by donmeaker (Blunderbuss: A short weapon, ... now superceded in civilized countries by more advanced weaponry.)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

I wear a fedora to work Monday through Friday. Sometimes on the weekends if I’m dressing up...

No, I don’t care if folks think it’s out of style. It’s MY style...


64 posted on 05/13/2012 9:19:14 PM PDT by Dead Corpse (Steampunk- Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

I often wear a cap when outside for sport events or doing yard work. But it sure bugs me to see men in restaurants wearing their caps or western hats while eating with others. I was taught that was impolite, and I agree.


65 posted on 05/13/2012 9:22:17 PM PDT by Avid Coug
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To: LibWhacker
So hats are for baldies. Or that’s the impression.

I'm afraid you have the wrong impression then. People who spend time outside are the ones who where caps/hats.

66 posted on 05/13/2012 9:25:24 PM PDT by Errant
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To: knittnmom
You're right. Truman was a haberdasher and was a dashing figure, elegant appearance and manner

I guess I was thinking of the real Harry; to wit,

Truman's "response [on White House stationary] to Washington Post Music Critic Paul Hume's December 6, 1950, review of Margaret Truman's singing performance at Constitution Hall." She cannot sing very well, said Hune.

"Mr. Hume:

"I've just read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come to the conclusion that you are an 'eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.'

"It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you're off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.

"Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!

"Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you'll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.

"H.S.T."

67 posted on 05/13/2012 9:42:51 PM PDT by WilliamofCarmichael (If modern America's Man on Horseback is out there, Get on the damn horse already!)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

IMHO, more people spent less time outdoors, due to more indoor jobs and air conditioning. Hats were in part to protect the head and eyes from sunlight.


68 posted on 05/13/2012 9:49:23 PM PDT by Clintonfatigued (Obama and Company lied, the American economy died)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

My head gets oily when I wear one, so I rarely do, unless I’m in the hot sun or in the rain. Yes, I use a hat when it rains because I don’t like to use umbrellas.


69 posted on 05/13/2012 9:50:38 PM PDT by Greg123456
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To: Eyes Unclouded

I bought a hat a couple years ago, but I haven’t worn it much.


70 posted on 05/13/2012 9:52:54 PM PDT by Impy (Don't call me red.)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Skateboarder type boys wear some nice hats. I forget what they are called but they have a smaller brim than a fedora but are nice looking on many heads. They look manly, not metrosexual, like some of the other looks for tweener and high school boys.


71 posted on 05/13/2012 10:29:55 PM PDT by married21 (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.)
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To: dfwgator
Best video ever! Safety Dance

And, on the Subject of hats:

"A hat should be taken off when you greet a lady and left off for the rest of your life. Nothing looks more stupid than a hat."--- P. J. O'Rourke

72 posted on 05/13/2012 10:35:51 PM PDT by Mad Dawgg (If you're going to deny my 1st Amendment rights then I must proceed to the 2nd one...)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

The fedora/homburg/bowler/boater type hat for men died out for many reasons, but I think Kennedy had little to do with it other than being around at the same time that the tide turned.

Dress in general is less formal. Most folks are less exposed to the weather. Cars are less roomy than public transport.

All these valid reasons have been posted. Another is that men got hit up for a tip every place they went and checked a hat. It got to be quite a racket. The hats themselves weren’t cheap, and you needed more than one.

I think when you combine all of the above with the dawning of the age of technology worship, where appearing old fashioned was the worst thing you could do, the hat was done for.

That said, I wear a fedora almost every day. Screw convention, I like ‘em, and when asked about it I say “If Obama is going to lead us into another Great Depression, I want to be dressed for it.”

That shuts up the libs and makes the conservatives like my hat.


73 posted on 05/13/2012 10:49:57 PM PDT by M1911A1
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To: OSHA

I wear a “stingy brim”, black synthetic straw fedora daily and I make it look good. Nothing but compliments.


74 posted on 05/13/2012 10:54:39 PM PDT by Uriah_lost (Is there no balm in Gilead?....MiE (Mainer in Exile))
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To: OSHA

I wear a “stingy brim”, black synthetic straw fedora daily and I make it look good. Nothing but compliments.


75 posted on 05/13/2012 10:54:56 PM PDT by Uriah_lost (Is there no balm in Gilead?....MiE (Mainer in Exile))
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To: Salamander
Nice hats. Yep the Coop has some of the best hats.


76 posted on 05/13/2012 10:55:42 PM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: frogjerk

You are correct, any thing with a bill and not a brim is not a hat. I have been wearing hats since I was just a kid and still do every day. I have a selection of very fine 5X and up beaver and fur felt hats; a selection is necessary for the type of activity or function you are participating in. Depending on the weather and what I was going to be doing for the day, I have been called every thing from Tex to Indiana Jones.
Pinch front Stetsons and snap brim fedoras remain my favorite styles.


77 posted on 05/13/2012 11:23:58 PM PDT by 5th MEB (Progressives in the open; --- FIRE FOR EFFECT!!)
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To: homegroan
Wish they would come back for ladies like the good old days...they were works of art and so expressive.

They never went away. You only need to know where to look: women's shops that cater to black women who want to look great for church.
78 posted on 05/13/2012 11:29:55 PM PDT by Nepeta
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To: Salamander

Is that Salvador Dali? I didn’t realize they were friends.


79 posted on 05/13/2012 11:48:08 PM PDT by nickcarraway
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To: Captain Beyond
Indeed.


80 posted on 05/14/2012 12:10:30 AM PDT by Salamander (If I'm too rough, tell me.....I'm so scared your little head will come off in my hands.)
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To: nickcarraway

Dali was made about him.

He did the first hologram using Alice and a bazillion dollars worth of diamonds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVhi7gi7_OA

Then Alice ‘hologrammed’ himself from the US to a UK concert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9ynLVO6l0w

Can you think of anyone Dali would’ve “gotten” more than Alice?

;D


81 posted on 05/14/2012 12:16:51 AM PDT by Salamander (If I'm too rough, tell me.....I'm so scared your little head will come off in my hands.)
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To: nickcarraway

Dali was *mad* [dammit] about him.

He did the first hologram using Alice and a bazillion dollars worth of diamonds.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVhi7gi7_OA

Then Alice ‘hologrammed’ himself from the US to a UK concert.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9ynLVO6l0w

Can you think of anyone Dali would’ve “gotten” more than Alice?

;D


82 posted on 05/14/2012 12:17:22 AM PDT by Salamander (If I'm too rough, tell me.....I'm so scared your little head will come off in my hands.)
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To: Captain Beyond
The totally over-the-top top hat

[not sure how he keeps that thing on his head...pop rivets, mebbe]

83 posted on 05/14/2012 12:20:06 AM PDT by Salamander (If I'm too rough, tell me.....I'm so scared your little head will come off in my hands.)
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To: Captain Beyond
Now *this* is 'snakeskin hatband'


84 posted on 05/14/2012 12:22:00 AM PDT by Salamander (If I'm too rough, tell me.....I'm so scared your little head will come off in my hands.)
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To: TheOldLady

I knew you’d like that...:)


85 posted on 05/14/2012 12:23:52 AM PDT by Salamander (If I'm too rough, tell me.....I'm so scared your little head will come off in my hands.)
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To: Errant; LibWhacker

And bikers.

Those friggin’ Harley hats are nailed to hubby’s head and if I had ~his~ full, thick, wavy hair I’d rule the world.

;D


86 posted on 05/14/2012 12:28:14 AM PDT by Salamander (If I'm too rough, tell me.....I'm so scared your little head will come off in my hands.)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Hat hair. I have fine hair. I don’t look human after I uncover, even with a crew cut.


87 posted on 05/14/2012 12:53:34 AM PDT by ebshumidors ( Marksmanship and YOUR heritage http://www.appleseedinfo.org)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Here in L.A., a lot of young men are wearing flat caps or trilbys.


88 posted on 05/14/2012 12:56:27 AM PDT by Maven
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To: Graybeard58

I had the same dream after being out 20+ yrs.


89 posted on 05/14/2012 12:59:58 AM PDT by ebshumidors ( Marksmanship and YOUR heritage http://www.appleseedinfo.org)
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To: Eyes Unclouded

This guy ruined it for everyone else.

-PJ

90 posted on 05/14/2012 1:01:11 AM PDT by Political Junkie Too (If you can vote for President, then your children can run for President.)
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To: marron
People who are regularly out doors, as they go about their daily business, still tend to wear hats. What has gone away is the hat as an affectation among people who work indoors. If you are out in the sun all day, or out in the sprinkling rain all day, you wear a hat and it becomes part of your normal attire.

I think that's right. I had been hatless all my life until I started walking my daughters home from school. This is in DC, with subtropical summers. Within a year, I was wearing hats. I also went seasonal on suits, although I never got all the way back to summer whites.

I think what killed the hat was mass suburbanization, which put most people into their cars for commutes. If your exposure to the outdoors is limited to the walk in from the parking lot, hats are an unnecessary encumbrance. People who still spend quality time outside still wear them.

91 posted on 05/14/2012 2:34:17 AM PDT by sphinx
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To: Cicero

When I was a kid in the fifties, older males “dressed up” when they went outside. Except for when they were working around the house. If you look at photos of crowd scenes from the early twentieth century, you can see that most of the men wore suits and ties and hats. But by the end of the fifties, as I recall with my sometimes faulty memory, it seems only the males sixty and older really dressed up for casual occasions. I never saw old guys in bermuda shorts. Times change.


92 posted on 05/14/2012 4:45:00 AM PDT by driftless2
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To: Eyes Unclouded
Not only hats, but SPATS!

Nobody wears spats anymore, WHY???

Let's talk about this, people, it's much more interesting than talking about the Recovery That Never Was...

93 posted on 05/14/2012 5:17:22 AM PDT by Kenton
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To: Eyes Unclouded

“The chicken or the egg”. When men began to stop wearing hats, the early 60’s then the automakers began to lower the tops. Hats lost there luster in the 50’s. Actors and rock and roll stars set the pace. James Dean( rebel without a cause), Elvis, etc. This was the beginning of the LOSS OF “CLASS” in society


94 posted on 05/14/2012 6:18:56 AM PDT by capt B
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To: Eyes Unclouded

Modishly hatless men are the reason for the upsurge in skin cancer!


95 posted on 05/14/2012 6:34:27 AM PDT by IbJensen (If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed)
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To: WilliamofCarmichael

LOL! He wasn’t called “Give ‘em he!!, Harry” for nothing!


96 posted on 05/14/2012 6:53:18 AM PDT by knittnmom (Save the earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!)
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To: Revolting cat!
Absence of hat racks?

That's a bit of it.

I have a fedora that I really like to wear. Most places have no place to hang your hat like a civilized human being.

97 posted on 05/14/2012 7:36:08 AM PDT by zeugma (Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
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To: Theoria

Mrs. Z really hated Larry the Cable Guy as well. Then she watched a couple of episodes of his “Only In America”. His apparently genuine love of his country warmed her up to him.


98 posted on 05/14/2012 7:51:21 AM PDT by zeugma (Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
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To: Kenton
Scrooge McDuck pulled off both very well ;-)
99 posted on 05/14/2012 8:01:14 AM PDT by TheBigB (Hippie liberal chick: "What do I do about birth control?" Me: "Just use your personality.")
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To: TheBigB
The Man with the Hat...


100 posted on 05/14/2012 8:04:20 AM PDT by TheBigB (Hippie liberal chick: "What do I do about birth control?" Me: "Just use your personality.")
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